Lightweight Folding Chair - Mountain Warehouse
I love the fact that a piece of kit seems to have run its development course, and arrived at something that can't really be bettered, and then some bright spark has an idea. Sometimes these ideas are sparked by developments in materials or manufacturing processes, but sometimes they are simply good ideas that really could have been implemented years ago. The folding camp chair has recently undergone just such a step.
Go into any reputable camping shop and there will most likely be a small army of different types of camping chairs, ranging from basic stools to two-person sofas! However they are all linked by a single principle, that they are a single piece which folds up. Some bright spark has combined this principle with the design of lightweight tents, and created a chair that needs assembling from multiple parts. The legs are effectively short, but strong tent poles, who's ends fit snugly into reinforced pockets in the hammock like chair material. The whole lot packs down to something not much bigger than a standard size kitchen roll, and weighs just 820g. It's still probably not a piece of kit you would take on a mountain marathon with you, but its certainly something worth considering if you are back-packing and fancy getting yourself off the floor at camp.
I've seen a few of these models in use now, and the one weak point seems to be the feet. Whereas the standard camp chairs have large plastic brackets at the four feet, these are single pole ends, prone to digging into soft ground. One manufacturer supplies a second, square, sleeve of material which the four feet fit into to both spread the load, and also tension the legs to keep them in the right place. Nice idea, but additional weight to lug around. Mountain Warehouse's approach has been to fit some flared plastic end caps to the poles. These work, but it's imperative to check that they are still there when you strike camp.
Comfort wise they don't come close to the two person sofas, but are a whole lot better than the basic stools. Sadly one of the concessions has been to remove the common drink holder as the chair doesn't have any in-built arms, but given that it is lower to the ground than most chairs, it's easy enough to find a flat spot next to where you are sitting.
The chair retails at £59.99 which is a reasonably hefty price tag, but it is more often than not on offer for around half that. For a family camping trip where space and weight are issues these chairs have revolutionised things for us. Well done that bright spark.
You can buy the chair at Mountain Warehouse.